- Strong Heritage and First F1 Involvement
- Returning Plans
- Build Up With Red Bull Partnership
- Fresh Start
- Current Status
Aston Martin has become synonymous with high performance and sophistication in the automotive industry for decades. But in recent years, the iconic British brand has set its sights on a new challenge in Formula 1.
The elite of motorsport demands an unparalleled engineering level of expertise, precision, and innovation. And with Aston Martin’s storied history and cutting-edge technology, it’s no surprise that the brand has become increasingly involved in the sport.
From partnerships with top teams to the development of their own Formula 1 car, Aston Martin’s involvement in the world of racing is both exciting and groundbreaking. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how Aston Martin is making its mark in Formula 1 and what it means for the future of the sport.
Strong Heritage and First F1 Involvement
Aston Martin has a rich heritage in motorsports dating back to its early days. In the 1920s and 1930s, Aston Martin cars were a common sight at races across Europe, with the brand achieving numerous victories in events such as the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Thrilled with the results, owner David Brown soon announced Aston Martin’s entry into Formula 1 in 1959. In its first foray, the team was ready to compete with the DBR4 and DBR5 models. The cars were powered by a 2.5-litre inline-four engine and driven by Carroll Shelby, Roy Salvadori and Maurice Trintignant.
Yet, the early days weren’t prosperous, with the team scoring only a handful of points throughout two seasons. During this period, the best position was sixth, which took place in the British and Portuguese GPs. The design discrepancy, of course, cost Aston Martin its best performance.
Brown and his engineers went to great lengths to reshape the car for 1960. The DBR5 was indeed lighter, but it did little to get results. Disputing only three races at the turn of the decade, the team abandoned the category due to a lack of results.
Aston Martin eventually found more success in the sport solely as an engine supplier. They continued to supply units throughout the 1960s, including the Lola and Brabham teams.
David Richards, who leads the consortium that owns Aston Martin along with his tech firm Prodrive, was granted a potential spot as an entrant for the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship.
Despite rumours of an Aston Martin F1 return, Richards stated that the company still had a long way to go before being ready for an F1 team. He believed that partnering with an existing team would be a better route towards being competitive rather than setting up a new team with Aston Martin and Prodrive.
In 2009, Richards again expressed his intention to return to the category the following year, using the Aston Martin name. In the end, this plan did not come to fruition. The opening of new registrations and the obligatory reboot of the car designs were a temptation, but the British did not give in.
Build Up With Red Bull Partnership
A partnership was formed between Aston Martin and Red Bull Racing in 2016 to develop high-end automobiles. This collaboration led to them becoming the sponsor of the racing team and working together on the creation of the Valkyrie sports car.
In 2018, Aston Martin became the primary sponsor of Red Bull, which resulted in modifying the team’s name to Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. This partnership between the two companies has been a professional endeavour.
Two years later, Lawrence Stroll, co-owner of Racing Point F1, had acquired roughly 16.7% of Aston Martin Lagonda’s shares and had invested in the English manufacturing company. Additionally, reports confirmed that the brand would return as a factory team to Formula 1 in the 2021 season, with the Racing Point team being renamed the Aston Martin F1 Team.
The deal is valid for ten years, during which Aston Martin Lagonda will have an economic interest in the team. Furthermore, Aston Martin will sponsor the team for four years, with the possibility of extension under certain conditions.
Mercedes continue to supply the team’s engines and other components, as it has done since 2009 under different names. As a result of this deal, Aston Martin ended its sponsorship of Red Bull Racing at the end of 2020.
Everything aligned for a new beginning. 2020 was the year Aston Martin announced that it would return to Formula 1 as a works team for the first time since the 1960s.
The team took over Racing Point operations, still under the command of Lawrence Stroll. The rebranding to Aston Martin F1 Team was accompanied by a new livery featuring the iconic British racing green.
They would only debut at the 2021 Bahrain Grand Prix, with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll behind the wheel. Aston Martin struggled in its first race, but the best result came with the second position conquered by Vettel at the Azerbaijan GP.
Despite high expectations and the signing of Sebastian Vettel, the team didn’t go beyond seventh place in its first two years. However, the brand has set its sights on becoming a top team in Formula 1, and with the backing of a major car manufacturer, there is every reason to believe that it can achieve its goals.
For the 2023 season, the bet is Fernando Alonso. The legendary Spaniard joined Lance Stroll in the quest to take Aston Martin to the top 5 of the constructors’ standings, living up to the prestigious name that the team carries.
So far, the season couldn’t have had a better start, as Alonso finished two GPs in a row in third place and is hungry for more. The excitement towards this current situation has been moving mountains, and only time will tell if this is a season to remember for the team.
As they have plans for continued improvement, the team recently established their driver academy to attract bright talents. The first member of the AMF1 Driver Development Programme is the 2022 Formula 2 champion Felipe Drugovich who has the potential to become one of the biggest stars of the F1 category.
Considering all efforts made, this team is constantly searching for growth, and it can become a championship contender in the future. But it is not inappropriate to say that Aston Martin has the foundations to reach higher ceilings very soon.